Kolten Wong Makes AA Debut Against World ChampionsApril 2, 2012, 6:28 PM HST (Updated April 2, 2012, 6:28 PM)
Hilo native Kolten Wong spent part of his spring getting a few hacks with the St. Louis Cardinals during spring training action in Jupiter, Florida. On Tuesday, he played against the big squad, making his first appearance for the Springfield Cardinals of the Double-A level Texas League.
Wong went hitless in three at-bats in his team’s loss to the defending Major League Baseball world champions by the score of 3-2. The game is an exhibition for both squads, as St. Louis will open their season on Wednesday in Miami against the Marlins, while Springfield opens up their league schedule against Frisco on Thursday.
Wong hit a ground ball out to shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, his first plate appearance. He made his first defensive play in the fourth inning, catching a fly ball in foul ground, then came up in the bottom of the inning and hit another ground ball out to second base.
Wong caught another pop up, this time in fair territory in the fifth inning, then picked up an assist on a ground ball and completed a force out in the sixth inning. Then, in the seventh, he ended the inning by fielding a ground ball that went right to him.
He finally reached base to lead off the home half of the seventh inning by drawing a walk against Carlos Martinez. Almost immediately, Wong came home to score when Oscar Taveras hit a triple to right field. Taveras and Wong were teamates last year at the A level with the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Wong made one more defensive play in the ninth, picking up an assist on a ground ball from Mike O’Neill. He would also have one more at-bat, but with one out in the bottom of the ninth, he grounded out to second baseman Starlin Rodriguez, capping off his night.
Wong’s chances of making the major league ball club is slim this year, which isn’t a bad thing. The Cardinals don’t plan to rush their 2011 first round draft pick through the minor league system, which means you can expect to hear Wong’s name at the minor level all season long.
His University of Hawaii teammate, Greg Garcia, entered the game in the fifth inning at third base, and did not record a hit in his two plate appearances.